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Analysis for 'Sports'

  • NBA to Syndicate Live-Streamed All-Star Player Interviews to 180+ Countries

    It’s NBA All-Star weekend and for the first time, the league is offering free access to live-streamed interviews of players to TV networks, social media and other publishers in over 180 countries around the world. Half the interviews will occur today at 11:05am PT with the other half at 11:50am PT. The NBA views these interviews as a way of generating visibility for players in their home countries and bringing fans closer to the action.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #406: Super Bowl Streaming; HBO Now Succeeds

    I’m pleased to present the 406th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin and I share our experiences live-streaming the Super Bowl. Both of us were on the road and were extremely impressed.  Except for latency of up to a minute or so, neither of us experienced any buffering or pixelation. In short, it was nearly a TV-like experience and really demonstrates how far live-streaming at scale has come.

    We then shift gears to discuss strong growth at HBO Now, which just reported hitting the 5 million subscriber mark at end of 2017. HBO Now is benefiting from not being a “buy-through” on top of expensive pay-TV services. By going direct-to-subscriber, HBO Now has made its product much more accessible. We suspect that Amazon Channels and AT&T (which strongly promoted HBO Now in 2017), were pivotal to growth.

    (Apologies, our audio quality isn’t that good this week).

    Listen in to learn more!


     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 25 seconds)


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  • ESPN’s New Streaming Service is for Super-Fans

    On Disney’s earnings call earlier this week, company CEO Bob Iger shared some details about ESPN’s new sports streaming service that will launch this spring and cost $4.99/month. Based on the initial reveal, it seems like a sports super-fan product that will give Disney some incremental revenue, but won’t be a game-changer in the broader pay-TV or online video worlds. It’s a refresh of the existing ESPN app powered by newly-acquired BAMTech technology.

    Iger described 3 main features of the new ESPN app:

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  • A Superb Super Bowl Streaming Experience

    As a Patriots fan, it was a bummer watching them go down in last night’s Super Bowl, but one major positive surprise was that streaming the game was a superb experience. I was on the road, and watched the entire game (except for the last minute) using the NBC Sports app on my iPad, on the public WiFi network in Palm Beach International airport in Florida where I arrived early for my flight which ended up delayed.

    I could have watched on any number of TVs in restaurants or camped out on the floor like the fans below watching on TVs mounted in the terminal. But the circumstances created a good opportunity to see what it would really be like to be dependent on streaming.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #405: Does Fox’s New NFL Thursday Night Deal Make Sense?

    I’m pleased to present the 405th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we dig into Fox’s newly announced deal to broadcast NFL Thursday Night Football games for the next 5 years. The price was reportedly $3 billion, which translates to an average of $60 million per game, a 30% increase vs. what CBS and NBC paid last season.

    Sports have long been thought of as TV’s firewall, but given the NFL’s own ratings declines, combined with accelerating changes in viewers’ behaviors, cord-cutting and adoption of ad-free SVOD, this deal carries risks for Fox. Can Fox turn a profit on the games as pay-TV operators push back on rate increases and advertisers balk at smaller audiences? Will we see a direct-to-consumer streaming service emerge? Time will tell.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 15 seconds)



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    Also note, Colin has a new white paper out on content portability in the EU. Download it here.

     
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  • Fox’s Multi-Billion Dollar NFL Deal Shows Live Sports are Still TV’s Firewall (or Not)

    Fox will have broadcast rights to NFL Thursday Night Football for the next 5 years in a deal that is reportedly worth over $3 billion. That would work out to an average of $60 million per game, up from the $45 million NBC and CBS paid per game over the past 2 years and up from the $37.5 million CBS alone paid in 2014 and 2015. The broadcasts will be presented by Bud Light.

    The deal gives fresh credence to the idea that “live sports are TV’s firewall” against changing viewer behaviors and the rise of SVOD. The “firewall” concept has been around for years now and has driven the exorbitant rise in sports rights and the multi-billion dollar “sports tax” that pay-TV subscribers who are not sports fans pay each year.

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  • Research: NFL is Strongest For Live Sports Viewers On Devices

    Adobe Primetime and The Diffusion Group have released new research, finding among other things, that the NFL is the most popular sport to live stream on digital devices. The research surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers, revealing viewership trends for live sports viewers or “LSVs” - adult broadband users that watch televised live sports on any screen including PCs, TVs, smartphones or tablets.

    The survey found that 37% of LSVs watch live sports on non-TV devices, with PCs used the most (cited by 27%), followed by smartphones (17%) and tablets (14%). Across all 3 of these devices, the NFL is the most popular of all sports. On PCs NFL is watched by 66% of LSVs, followed by Summer Olympics (59%) and NBA basketball (59%). On smartphones, NFL is watched by 70% of LSVs, then NBA (59%) and college basketball (52%). On tablets NFL is at 67%, followed by NBA (62%) and major league baseball (61%).

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  • Attend Our Streaming Sports Webinar on October 19th

    Sports has been on the forefront of the streaming revolution from the start. Whether it’s early successes like the NCAA basketball tournament or the unprecedented scale of the 2016 Summer Olympics or more recently Thursday Night Football on Twitter and Amazon, sports have continued to push the boundaries of what’s possible with online and mobile delivery.

    To better understand what’s happening with streaming sports and the best practices today, Akamai is presenting a free webinar on Thursday, October 19th at 1pm ET, which I will be hosting with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia, my weekly podcast partner. Joining us will be Clark Pierce, SVP, TV Everywhere and Special Projects at Fox Digital Consumer Group and another executive TBD. Fox has been a leader in streaming sports, so Clark has a wealth of knowledge to share.

    In the webinar we’ll also explore distinct new value propositions being created by streaming sports, key challenges and what’s ahead. We’ll draw on insights from Akamai’s recently published thought-leadership paper, Game On! How Streaming Sports is Heating Up, in which we interviewed executives at 8 companies leading the charge on streaming sports. Game On can be downloaded here.

    For anyone involved in streaming sports, the webinar will be extremely valuable - register now!

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #390: CBS All Access Gains on Star Trek; YouTube TV Takes Risky Bet on World Series

    I’m pleased to present the 390th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, we discuss the impact of the “Star Trek: Discovery” launch on CBS All Access. CBS has said that All Access daily subscriber growth is up 200% over last year since the show’s launch. As Colin notes though, it’s hard to draw conclusions yet about how sustainable the additions will be or whether churn will spike. More originals are clearly needed to broaden the service’s appeal.

    We then turn to the surprising news this week that YouTube TV will be the presenting sponsor of the 2017 World Series. Colin and I agree it’s really a sign of the times when a skinny bundle has stepped up this way. However, since Fox, the network broadcasting the games, isn’t even available yet on YouTube TV in half the top 50 U.S. markets, the sponsorship carries risks. Colin also notes that given YouTube TV’s programming costs, it is likely losing money for each new subscriber.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 6 seconds)



    Click here for previous podcasts.

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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
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  • Attend Our Streaming Sports Webinar on October 19th

    Sports has been on the forefront of the streaming revolution from the start. Whether it’s early successes like the NCAA basketball tournament or the unprecedented scale of the 2016 Summer Olympics or more recently Thursday Night Football on Twitter and Amazon, sports have continued to push the boundaries of what’s possible with online and mobile delivery.

    To better understand what’s happening with streaming sports and the best practices today, Akamai is presenting a free webinar on Thursday, October 19th at 1pm ET, which I will be hosting with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia, my weekly podcast partner. Joining us will be Clark Pierce, SVP, TV Everywhere and Special Projects at Fox Digital Consumer Group and Ben Weinberger, SVP and Chief Product Officer at Sling TV. Both Fox and Sling TV have been leaders in streaming sports, so Clark and Ben have a wealth of knowledge to share.

    In the webinar we’ll also explore distinct new value propositions being created by streaming sports, key challenges and what’s ahead. We’ll draw on insights from Akamai’s recently published thought-leadership paper, Game On! How Streaming Sports is Heating Up, in which we interviewed executives at 8 companies leading the charge on streaming sports. Game On can be downloaded here.

    For anyone involved in streaming sports, the webinar will be extremely valuable - register now!

     
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  • Inside the Innovative World of Streaming Sports

    Sports are where you’ll find a lot of the most innovative online video activity happening. In fact, sports have always been a leader in online video, with marque events like the NCAA basketball tournaments and Olympics driving some of the biggest live and on-demand audiences. For fans, online and mobile delivery have brought unprecedented access and immersion - watching sports has never been as much fun and convenient as it is these days.

    To better understand the rapid innovation in streaming sports, what lies ahead and the key challenges that remain, my weekly podcasting partner Colin Dixon, of nScreenMedia, and I recently interviewed eight sports leaders for a thought-leadership report presented by Akamai. The report, “Game On! How Streaming Sports is Heating Up,” is available for complimentary download.

    The executives we interviewed are from Sling TV, NBC Sports Digital/PlayMaker Media, Fox Sports, NeuLion, ETN Media/Street League, Tennis Channel, Whistle Sports and Akamai. Their companies participate in all facets of sports online - networks, rights-holders, technologists and service providers, leveraging various business models. The interviews provide invaluable insights into what’s working well today and what still must be improved for streaming sports to make further gains.

    In addition to the report, we’re also planning a webinar to further explore the topic. Date is TBD, but coming soon.

    Enjoy!

    (Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #377: NBC’s Premier League Pass; Sinclair’s ATSC 3.0 Vision

    I’m pleased to present the 377th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we start by discussing NBC Sports’ new “Premier League Pass,” which I wrote about a couple days ago. Colin and I agree that Premier League Pass is a clever way for NBC Sports to provide access to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Going forward, we both like the idea of an “Olympics Pass” as well. Combined with AMC Premiere, which Comcast and AMC announced yesterday, it’s clear established media companies are innovating to offer more flexible access to viewers.

    Colin then shares his reactions to an interesting presentation by Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, on the company’s ATSC 3.0 vision. I’ll admit this is not a topic I’ve followed too closely, but as Colin explains, Sinclair sees ATSC 3.0 as an entirely new delivery infrastructure it can use to deliver all kinds of services. Important to keep in mind, all of this is still very long-term.

    (Note, the audio quality is a bit low this week with Colin being out of office when we recorded)

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 42 seconds)



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  • NBC Sports Extends Push Into OTT Subscriptions with $50 Premier League Pass

    Yesterday NBC Sports Digital announced its latest OTT subscription service, “Premier League Pass,” which provides access to 130 live matches during the 2017-2018 season for $50. Premier League Pass augments NBC Sports’ broadcast of 250 matches carried on its linear networks and online via TV Everywhere.

    Premier League Pass is the latest OTT subscription service to be part of what’s known as “NBC Sports Gold.” Other services include “Cycling Pass” ($40), “Pro Motocross Pass” ($50), “Track and Field Pass” ($70) and “Rugby Pass” ($60).

    As NBC Sports continues rolling out these various services, it’s becoming clearer that the company is seeing success in offering super-fans online access to specific sports. But what’s more intriguing is that NBC Sports may be laying the groundwork for how consumers will be paying for more mainstream sports somewhere down the road.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #365: Exploring Amazon Prime’s Vast Potential in Video

    I’m pleased to present the 365th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First, we’d like to thank our podcast sponsor Akamai Technologies, which will show its Media Acceleration capabilities and range of cloud-based solutions at the NABShow in Las Vegas, in booth SL3324. Click here to schedule a meeting.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss Amazon’s burgeoning role in video and how Amazon Prime’s unique model gives the company unprecedented advantages. Prime’s power was on full display earlier this week when Amazon nabbed the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package for $50 million, 5 times more than what Twitter paid last season.

    Colin and I agree that Amazon’s ability to view video investments as drivers for Prime membership retention/acquisition and ultimately increased commerce is a huge threat to everyone in the industry. Colin shares research on how the world is starting to wake up to this, though we believe that Amazon’s video potential is nowhere close to being fully appreciated yet.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 59 seconds)




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  • Amazon’s NFL Deal is Further Evidence of How Prime is Upending the Video Industry

    Amazon further reinforced its position as the most influential company in the video industry with news late yesterday that it had won the rights to stream the NFL’s 10 game Thursday night football package for $50 million, with plans to make the games available for Amazon Prime members only (they'll still be broadcast alternatively on CBS and NBC, and on NFL Network). The sum is a whopping 5 times more than the $10 million that Twitter reportedly paid for the same rights last season.

    The key to understanding Amazon’s willingness to pay up for the TNF rights is the power of its unique business model, based on Prime. As I wrote last November, Prime is the linchpin for Amazon’s ever-expanding video initiatives.

    At last summer’s Recode conference, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos plainly articulated Prime’s value to the company in driving greater customer loyalty and increased purchases (if you’re a Prime customer, you no doubt know this dynamic yourself). And keep in mind, with approximately 60 million members paying $99 per year, Prime generates $6 billion in revenue for Amazon before a single purchase has been made.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #363: Interview With FOX Sports’ SVP Clark Pierce

    I’m pleased to present the 363rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I interview Clark Pierce, who is SVP, TV Everywhere and Special Projects at FOX Sports. Online delivery of sports has become a big driver of video consumption, as FreeWheel’s Video Monetization Report for 2016 highlighted earlier this week. As Clark explains, FOX Sports has fully embraced streaming sports, including 2 different Super Bowls, the World Series, multiple soccer tournaments, professional golf, NASCAR and more.

    Clark details how Fox Sports has focused on the authenticated TV Everywhere model for sports streaming to an ever-growing array of connected and mobile devices. He shares insights about how FOX Sports approaches delivery quality, with detailed modeling of live audiences. Clark also talks a lot about how FOX Sports is continuing to innovate the viewer experience, incorporating data, multiple streams, audio and much more.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (30 minutes, 6 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #357: Super Bowl Streaming and NFL Viewing; Assessing HBO Now’s Growth

    I’m pleased to present the 357th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up, Colin shares his experiences streaming the Super Bowl on numerous services and devices. Overall the video quality was pretty strong, especially on Sling TV. Colin also used the Fox VR app with Google Cardboard and relays his reactions.

    While Super Bowl LI was one of the best-viewed in history, NFL ratings this past season declined across the board and we discuss what’s likely happening. As I wrote earlier this week, the wide adoption of ad-free SVOD feels like a major culprit.

    We then transition HBO Now, which Time Warner reported earlier this week now has over 2 million subscribers. Neither Colin nor I are super-impressed with HBO Now’s growth, especially by comparison with Netflix’s performance in the same time period. We both think HBO Now’s relatively high price of $15/month is the key issue.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 53 seconds)


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  • For the NFL, a Super Bowl to Rejoice and a Season to Forget

    Here in Boston, our blood pressure is still racing over the unbelievable result of last night’s Super Bowl. The odds of a 25-point comeback with just over a quarter to play are incalculably long. But Patriots fans aren’t the only ones rejoicing this morning; no doubt there’s also euphoria at the NFL’s offices as last night’s game proved once again how riveting professional football can be.

    However, the exhilarating Super Bowl cannot fully mask the fact that from a TV audience perspective, this was a season the NFL would just as soon forget. Last Friday MoffettNathanson shared their tally of the final numbers: compared to 2015, overall regular season 2016 TV viewership was down 9% and first 3 weeks of post-season was down 6%. Monday night football was down 13%, Sunday night down 11% and Thursday night down 9%. Compared to 2014, overall regular season was down 7% and ESPN Monday night football was down 15%.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #356: Exploring "TV As An App," Super Bowl Ads

    I’m pleased to present the 356th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we explore the concept of “TV as an app,” which represents a paradigm shift in how TV is accessed by viewers. Of course the rise of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others has paved the way for app-based viewing, but an entire TV lineup being delivered via an app to a connected TV device is still a significant change from conventional set-top box-based viewing.

    “TV as an app” got a boost this week with Comcast’s beta release of the Xfinity TV app for Roku. I’ve given it an initial try and provide some observations. In addition, Colin was moderating a panel on video apps this week and shares further insights he heard.

    We then shift focus to this Sunday’s Super Bowl, which will once again feature multiple free streaming options as well as localized dynamic ad insertion in the streams, which is a first. I’m keeping an eye on the ads to see if they offer any meaningful viewer engagement.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 8 seconds)



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  • Will We See Viewer Engagement in This Year’s Super Bowl Ads?

    This Sunday’s Super Bowl will once again be a showcase for great football and for compelling, creative advertising. As always, advertisers will be spending big to be in the game as the rate for a 30-second spot is approximately $5 million. Add in the cost of producing the ad and pre-promoting it, and the Super Bowl is easily the biggest single advertising investment a marketer makes.

    While the Super Bowl ads will no doubt entertain and move us, the bigger question is, will they engage us? Will they spur us do something beyond saying “Wow, that was cool!” before we shift our attention to the next ad or back to the game?

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